I’m downsizing again. After ten years living in my lovely little apartment, I’m moving to an even smaller apartment, and I can’t wait.
When we moved here ten years ago, it took a big downsizing effort. We came from a large four-bedroom plus study, two living space home with a garage, a swimming pool and two sheds, to a two-bedroom inner city apartment with car spaces but only a small storage cage. We got rid of a lot of furniture, bric-a-brac, books, collections, gardening equipment, excess tools, kitchenware and more. But we found a happy way of living with less stuff and less space and have made the most of the space available. Right now, my husband and I both work from home, so our little apartment is punching above its weight but still delivers us a comfortable lifestyle.
So why are we moving? And why are we downsizing? Well, we decided to futureproof our lifestyle and find a home that doesn’t involve stairs to access it. We love the area where we live and so our search area was tiny. We considered several options but finally settled on one with a fabulous city view. I honestly can’t believe our luck. We found a place just one street over, a little closer to the action we love and still close to all the local amenities. The views are spectacular, the apartment building is great, the light and feel of our new home is more than I could have hoped for. But there is a downside. While the outdoor terrace is huge with its lovely outlook, the dimensions of the apartment are smaller than where we live now. It’s going to take some clever solutions to fit us and our stuff in.
But I don’t want to simply shoehorn all our possessions into that new home. I want to keep the feeling of light and space. I also want to still have overnight guests and work from home. It will be a challenge, but I’m up for that challenge.
It’s going to require major decluttering, which I have already begun. The first thing I noticed is that I had to make different choices and set different policies. You may have heard me talk about my lovely cookie cutter collection. If not, you can read about it here from an article I wrote back in 2009. I have more than halved it. (To be honest, I may have to reduce it more, but I’ll wait and see.) I had already made a big cut to the collection when we moved from our large family home, but over the years additions have been made to the collection. I took all but one of the discarded cookie cutters to my daughter-in-law. I told her whatever she doesn’t want can go to the op shop. That last one cookie cutter was a pink flamingo, which I picked up as a souvenir from a trip to Florida. I posted it to friend who has a real fondness for flamingos. I knew it would make her smile.
You may have heard of my policy of keeping all signed-by-the-author copies of books. That policy helped me in the last downsize, but I’ve had to review that policy now. Yes, several signed copies of organising books have been shared with organiser colleagues. Others have been donated to the local Little Library for others in the neighbourhood to enjoy.
I’ve sent many pairs of shoes to the op shop. Of course, some were in no fit state to be worn by anybody else, but many had been worn just a few times. Gone are the days when I will put up with sore feet for the sake of fashion. Anything that doesn’t feel totally comfortable had to go. But I still had to fight irrational thoughts like “But I paid good money for those.” How many times have I heard that from clients? In the end I was left with a good selection of comfortable, good-looking shoes. There were also three pairs of “maybe” shoes. I decided to wear them for a couple of days before making my final decision. It’s been fun dressing up and trying them out. One pair stayed, the other two were passed on.
So far, the downsizing, reprioritising, and decluttering has not been too difficult, even though I’ve parted with things which held fond memories. Whenever I am confronted with a tough choice, I think about that view and know what I am willing to do to make it mine and to enjoy my life there.
It’s good to put myself in the position of my clients and face some of the uncomfortable feelings they face. It’s good to notice my thought processes and coping strategies. Some days I don’t have the time or energy to make lots of decisions, just like my clients. Some days I declutter the “low hanging fruit”, the stuff that doesn’t have an emotional pull or require much thought. Other days I declutter like crazy. It feels like my dream home is coming closer, even though the moving date hasn’t changed.
I still have a way to go, and I would love to hear your downsizing advice.